Friday Fiction – 10 Verbs, 10 Nouns

by | Feb 13, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fiction. Regular visitors will know that I share a fictional piece here every week and invite others to link up their own work. The blue frog below takes you to the link-up page, where you can either add your own blog pieces or read others.

For my fiction piece this week, I’m using a writing exercise I wrote about on Tuesday. For this exercise, you have to list ten verbs and ten nouns, then pair one of each up at random. After writing a sentence for each pair, you put them together to make a story. I presumed you could use each pair in any order in your sentence.

I ended up with these verb/noun pairs:


I decided to use a character from my work in progress to write the piece. In the story, he messes up more than once when it comes to women, but with one girl in particular, he realises he made a big mistake. This piece is about how he messed up and then tried to make amends. I tried to capture his regrets and the loneliness he feels because of his behaviour.

I have highlighted the sentences I made from the verb/noun pairs above.

No one, least of all me, will ever know why I let go of the one and only good thing in my life. There is something destructive about me: a part that can never accept happiness. I’m not supposed to be happy. All the good things in my life have ended in misery, so what is the point?

Bridget was different though. I should have seen that, should have known. Perhaps I did and that’s why I went all out to destroy us, who knows? One thing I do know is that she didn’t deserve what I did to her. Didn’t deserve to find me in bed with her best friend. It was a new low for me and I can still see her face when she caught us, still see the hurt when she turned to face me with that unspoken question in her eyes. ‘Why?’

She was calm as she walked over to my side of the bed and crouched down in front of me. On impulse, I went to reach out and touch her, but something stopped me. I wanted to beg for her forgiveness, but no words would come, not when she was looking at me like that. I would never be able to explain it anyway.

‘How could you use me like this, have you no heart?’

I remember thinking at the time that perhaps I actually didn’t have a heart or a soul either.

After that day, the walls went up around me. This time so high that I was sure nothing could ever penetrate them. I tried to pretend that Bridget didn’t matter to me. On the surface, I was completely over her. I was back in the game: Dillon the player, the lady’s man – call me what you like, those names mean nothing to me. Inside I was dying.

In the sober light of day, I felt dirty and cheap and as much as I tried to remain numb and shut out the pain, I couldn’t do it. I thought about reaching out to Bridget, but I couldn’t do that either. Instead, I wrote it down, in a letter. That letter was written and re-written over and over. It would never be right, I knew that, but I kept writing it anyway. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to give her the letter and hope that she would understand.

I wanted to give it to her in person. I had to see her again, but I had no idea what I would say; I hoped that something would come to me. Walking to her flat felt like being in a slow motion movie. I was walking, but my feet were heavy, as though I was wearing iron boots. I thought I would never get there, but when I eventually did, it was only to see her pull away in her car. I thought about running down the road after her, but it was fruitless to chase after a car, so I stood there, wondering what to do with the letter that was in my hand.

After staring in to the space where her car had disappeared, I eventually pulled out of the trance I was in and posted the letter through her door, wondering if she would even open it and if she would believe what I had to say. If I had lost her, I would have to deal with that. For now, all I could do was wait.

I decided to call my dad to see how he was getting on. His illness was worsening; I knew that from what my sister had told me. I felt guilty that I hadn’t visited home for a long time, but after already losing mum, the thought of losing another parent was too much to deal with. It’s selfish, I know, but it’s easier for me to bury my head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening, rather than to deal with something head on. Dad didn’t sound great. Despite his efforts to convince me otherwise, with each cough, he sounded less and less convincing and I found myself making a promise to come home as soon as I could. I meant it too. If Bridget didn’t want me, I had nothing to hang around here for anyway.

A week passed and I heard nothing from Bridget. I had my answer and I knew it was time to leave, to escape this place for good. I packed up my things – it didn’t take long. When you travel by motorbike, you travel light. The bike was in a lock-up just down the road from my flat. I hadn’t needed to use it since I’d been living in London. I missed riding it, missed the thrill of speeding down the road and the roar and throng of the engine. As I walked down the path towards the garage, a noise from behind forced me to turn to see where it was coming from. A part of me thought or hoped that it might be Bridget, but it was only a squirrel. I ignored the empty feeling inside me and busied myself getting my bike for the journey home.

When everything was loaded up, I took one more look around. This place had been home to me for the last six months, but I didn’t feel as though I belonged here anymore. I scuffed my feet in the dirt of the driveway and kicked at something on the ground. It was one, solitary glove, left to rot in the dirt, alone and useless. Without its other half, that glove had no purpose anymore. It was how I felt too.

Weary through lack of sleep, I shook my head to stifle a yawn, pulled down my helmet and sped off at full speed, leaving behind only a cloud of dust.

There it is – ten sentences put together to make a longer piece. I actually really enjoyed doing this. Some of the sentences are probably longer than I would normally do, but I found that it was necessary to drag them out sometimes in order to get both words in. That, I guess, is the consequence of having those boundaries, but it really forces you to refine your words and to think carefully about what you are going to say and how you are going to write it.

I haven’t worked on this story since November and it was good to revisit the main character again. I hope that things will work out a bit better for him in the novel though!
Here is the link to add your own work. I look forward to reading them. Don’t forget to grab the button and tell others about it too.

Nikki Young Writes
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  1. maddy@writingbubble

    I remember Dillon – he seems to have a capacity for self-destruction! Looks like it was an interesting exercise and you’ve managed it well. It’s interesting the effect that these challenges have on your writing style isn’t it? I found that with the alphabet one this week – reading my story back it’s sort of my style but sort of not. It’s all good practice! xx

    • Nicola Young

      I know! It challenges you to write in a different way than perhaps you would if you didn’t have the confines of the exercise. I think that’s good though, because it allows you to experiment.

  2. Maria (@Mbette827)

    I love the exercise you did. The words, though at random, worked seamlessly into your existing piece. Bravo! Dillon sounds interesting. I love the detail of the glove and how it mirrors him without his other pair, a very subtle detail, but powerful indeed. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work!

  3. Nicola Young

    It’s quite funny because the words literally are random and when you look at them you think, ‘how am I supposed to incorporate glove and cough into this?’ But somehow, they all managed to fit and in the end, I quite liked how the glove came to symbolise his loneliness. It even fit with Sara’s prompt, how bizarre is that?!

  4. sophieblovett

    It’s really interesting how, whilst this exercise still gives you a fair amount of creative control, your random words take the writing in different directions. The glove metaphor is great! X

    • Nicola Young

      It forces you to choose your words carefully, which is a good exercise in itself. There’s no room for waffling or rambling on, that’s for sure.

  5. dadbloguk

    I simply want to say “Bridget…whatever you’re thinking, don’t get back together with this man!” I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel sympathy for this guy…but I don’t!

    For some reason the description of th emotorbilke really resonates with me. No idea why, but it was well described. Thanks for hosting #FridayFiction

    • Nicola Young

      Well it’s interesting that you don’t. In this extract, he definitely didn’t deserve her, but there’s a lot more to him than meet the eye.

  6. De Tout Coeur Limousin

    A very interesting exercise. Will give it a go. Looking forward to reading more about this story – want to know more about the characters…

    • Nicola Young

      Thanks. I hope to get back to working on this story, if I ever finish the manuscript I’m currently editing!

  7. VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood

    These writing exercises seem very challenging and a whole lot of fun. I am going to explore these a bit more when I find some time. Love how you have developed the story through the exercise. #theprompt

    • Nicola Young

      Would love to see how you get on. Come and join us on Friday Fiction.

  8. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    Another great exercise and I love how you wove the words in. And, the glove metaphor is very strong, and how great that it slotted into this week’s prompt! I actually tried a ten to one while I was waiting for inspiration to strike for Solitary… I might share it next week… 🙂 Thank you for linking to #ThePrompt x

    • Nicola Young

      I had to get that glove line in there somewhere and I’m surprised I’m the end how easily it slotted in. Funny how they all come together, even though you have no control over how you choose the words and pairs. It was an interesting exercise.

  9. Emily Organ

    Well done, these challenges are tricky! Although I think the constraints can actually make you find a way to use words which you wouldn’t have considered before. I think the character’s voice is really strong in this and I enjoyed it, a lovely piece of writing.

    • Nicola Young

      Yes they do and I think that’s what makes them interesting. Are you trying any of the others?



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